Macmillan’s ambition is to reach and improve the lives of everyone living with cancer – and reaching the UK’s diverse communities plays a huge part in this. Volunteers are playing a vital role in helping us to achieve this aim by making sure people from all corners of society are represented.
When it comes to cancer support, every region in the country has its own unique requirements. Volunteers can be key in voicing the needs of hard-to-reach or underrepresented communities so that the appropriate services can be adapted or created. A prime example of this is Macmillan’s brand-new volunteer-led initiative, the London Cancer Community (LCC) – a network of people who are using their cancer experiences to make a difference.
Following a Macmillan report revealing the inequalities in cancer care within London, the LCC was officially launched last November by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. All the LCC volunteers come from different backgrounds, but are united by a desire to share their cancer experiences and represent their communities. Together, they support both Macmillan and our partners by informing, influencing and co-producing services.
Lizzy (pictured top) says that volunteering for the LCC gave her a sense of purpose.
'When I got oesophageal cancer, life stopped,' she says. 'When it started again, I decided to volunteer for Macmillan. I sit on the Upper GI pathway board for London Cancer. As patient advocates we help put the patient view forward and make sure nobody forgets that patients are people. We also come up with achievable solutions to problems. It’s really rewarding when you see improvements occur as a result of your input, whether it’s better patient information or more flexibility in hospital appointment times.
'LCC volunteers are a diverse bunch of people who all have cancer in common. Everyone understands where each other is coming from and nobody treats you as fragile. Being a part of it has given me my confidence back and a real sense of belonging.'
Lizzy and her fellow volunteers will be speaking with decision makers in the NHS, running focus groups, and attending Macmillan meetings to inform decisions. Other Macmillan regions are following the LCC’s lead and setting up similar initiatives across the UK. At each one, volunteers are representing the unique and valuable viewpoints of people in different communities and making an important difference.
Want to make your voice heard?
Cancer touches the lives of millions of Londoners. That's why as Mayor I'm doing everything I can and, in collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support, I'm proud to be launching the London Cancer Community. This initiative will place people living with cancer at the heart of services, ensuring their views are represented and their voices are heard.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
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